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the country's ability to defend itself. >> karzai met with u.s. president barack obama last week in washington. the two sides have agreed that afghan forces will take the lead in security operations starting this spring. u.s. troops will transition to a support role. unmanned drones help international forces in afghanistan collect intelligence on the 5,000 occasions last year. but afghan forces have lacked that technology, forcing them to rely on foreign allies for intelligence. international combat troops are scheduled to leave afghanistan by the end of 2014. time is running out to improve the capabilities of the of began military. and that wraps up our bulletin for today. >>> emerging economic powers still struggling with poverty. emboldened citizens still demanding democracy. the threat of violence, the push for peace, the shadow of conflict. get news and insight on south and southeast asia every weekday live from bangkok only on nhk world "newsline." >>> the candidate of prime minister abe approved a budget to bolster the flagging economy. if approved by parliament, the budget would enable
of deflation and revitalize the economy. and he wants to reinforce ties with countries considered to be engines of growth. abe had hoped to make washington his first foreign visit. but u.s. officials couldn't find time because of president obama's inauguration. still, abe wants to visit as soon as possible. he says the alliance is the foundation of japanese security in an increasingly difficult environment. japanese and american diplomats have been struggling to agree on how to relocate a u.s. military base in okinawa. they've run into strong opposition from residents. on top of that, the americans have been pressuring the japanese to start talks on a free trade agreement. farmers and lobby groups are urging abe not to join the transpacific partnership. many wonder how abe will balance these pressures as he tries to achieve these goals. nhk world. >>> four days of anti-government protests in pakistan have come to an end. patchari raksawong joins us from bangkok with an update on the situation. patchari, good evening. >> good evening, gene. the protests may be over but the problems remain in pak
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